Gadgets

The good and the bad of the 10 Bluetooth headsets I bought

In the last few years, after smartphones stopped having earphone jacks, I have spent a fortune buying numerous Bluetooth earphones – some worked, many were average and a few were bad.

Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement, or commission of any sort involved in this post. 

Here is the list of ten earphones I have bought in recent years, the list is partial as I might have missed a few:

  1. Jabra Elite 65:
    Jabra Elite 65
    Jabra Elite 65

    I lost one of the earpieces first and then the charging box, anyways voice calls were too noisy for the receiver, making it useless for the receiver. The audio levels were low, but there are a good set of controls in the connected app. The cost was Rs.13,000.  Average & costly

  2. Sony WI-C300:
    Sony WI-C300

    Audio quality was decent, but the voice calls were noisy for the receiver and the battery life was below average. The cost was Rs.2400. Poor but reasonable price.

  3. Airersi K10:Airersi K10 Wireless Business Bluetooth Headset bought from AliExpress.
    Venkatarangan with K10 Wireless Bluetooth Headset for Noise Free Calls
    K10 Bluetooth Headset

    Among the many earphones I tried, this worked better and considering the price of Rs.1565 it was not a bad deal. But it had frequent pairing issues. Average & Good Price.

  4. Jabra Talk 55:This was supposed to be a premium device and feels super light on your ears.
    Jabra Talk 55:
    Jabra Talk 55:

    It was advertised for its HD Voice quality, crystal-clear calls, in reality, it too was bad when it came to noise-cancelling during voice quality for the receiver. The other problem was the phone’s mono-control was too difficult to use. When you pick up the earphone for a call, put it in your ear and press the button, it disconnects the call, irritating. It was lightweight but the battery life was less than 2 hours of listening/calls. And when I run with the earphone on, it keeps playing the voice message on battery levels, pausing the playing audio for every single step. It cost Rs.8000. Bad & costly

  5. iClever CVC 6.0 Bluetooth Headphones:
    iClever CVC 6.0
    iClever CVC 6.0

    I got these from Amazon USA through a friend last year for $20. In April this year, during the COVID lockdown in India, I gave this to my son, who has been since using it every day He loves it. Audio clarity is good, battery-life is well over several hours of usage and noise-cancelling for calls works well for the receiver. Overall, great value for money. Unfortunately, this model is no more available in Amazon USA. Best buy & Cheap.

  6. Stuffcool Audio Jimi:
    Stuffcool Audio Jimi
    Stuffcool Audio Jimi

    I got these from Rajam Electricals and Electronics, West Mambalam, Chennai during lockdown when eCommerce (Amazon & Flipkart) were not allowed to service Chennai. It cost about Rs.1990. They work well, good audio and decent voice-quality for the receiver. My wife likes it and using it with her iPad. Good buy & Cheap.

  7. Pebble Arbane Wireless Earphones:
    Pebble Arbane Wireless Earphones
    Pebble Arbane Wireless Earphones

    I got these too from Rajam Electricals and Electronics, West Mambalam during the lockdown. It cost Rs.1890.The band around the neck is solid plastic, heavy and uncomfortable when your neck is sweating. But they worked well, decent audio and voice-quality for the receiver. Battery-life was a few hours of usage. Unfortunately, the multi-function button that you use for call pickup, disconnect, power ON/OFF, wears out easily – I ended breaking the button within two months. If you can handle this carefully and don’t mind the plastic neckband, you may get these. Average & Good Price.

  8. Beetel BT Earphone with Neckband N02:
    Beetel BT Earphone with Neckband N02
    Beetel BT Earphone with Neckband N02

    After I broke the Pebble Arbane,  I got these too from Rajam Electricals and Electronics, West Mambalam during the lockdown It cost Rs.1390. This is one I enjoy using and still have it. Lightweight, comfortable buttons, reasonable audio quality, great voice-quality for the receiver and battery-life of 4+ hours of usage. Good buy & Cheap.

  9. Soundcore Life Note: Finally, after much searching and many failed attempts I seem to have found a Bluetooth headset that works fine for me and is reasonably priced. It is Soundcore Life Note TWB Headset. Reading and comparing reviews between the different models from this brand Soundcore owned by Anker of Hongkong, I selected their recent release Life Note. I bought it from Flipkart for Rs.2949. Best buy & good price!
    Unboxing of Soundcore Life Note - True Wireless Bluetooth
    Unboxing of Soundcore Life Note – True Wireless Bluetooth

    In an appearance at a glance, they resemble the gold-standard Apple EarPods. The earphones feel light and fit well on your ears. The right-ear piece is the master controller. As you pick it from the charging box, it automatically connects with your phone; then pressing gently the centre button you can pick up/disconnect calls; double-tap the button on the right-side earpiece moves a track forward; the left-side moves a track backwards.

    I am able to get over 5+ hours of continuous usage, the charging case extends it to 40 hours (claimed, I haven’t tested that). Conveniently it has a USB-C charging port, which is a big plus for me as my Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite & iPad Pro both use USB-C. There is an auto voice prompt when you put it on, giving the battery level followed by a satisfactory cling sound when it has finished connecting with the phone. I am able to get a Bluetooth range of several tens of feet – in fact, once I had left my phone in the ground floor of my house, the earphone kept playing the music even as I reached the first floor.

    The important feature for me was the noise-cancelling for clear voice calls, which this can deliver with its 4 microphones, two on each earpiece. It has an IPX5 water-resistance. I haven’t gone walking on the streets yet, but still, with the testing, I did on my terrace where road noise is audible, the receivers of my calls said they could hear me clearly and with little background noise.  One complaint I have is an infrequent disconnection, you had to tap connect again from the caller app in your phone. The other inconvenience is the slippery charging case, it is nearly impossible to open the cover without dropping the case – I found a trick to solve this, purchased a case cover (see below) and stuck the charging case to the inside of the cover and solved the problem.

    If you can tolerate the disconnections, this is a fantastic buy, recommend these earphones for the price. Best buy & Good Price!

    With a case cover that I purchased separately
    With a case cover that I purchased separately
  10. OnePlus Type-C Bullets Earphones:
    OnePlus Type-C Bullets Earphones
    OnePlus Type-C

    This one is not a Bluetooth earphone, but connects over USB-C and works well with my smartphone & iPad Pro. Audio quality and voice-clarity are good. If you wish for no-hassle earphones and don’t mind wires tangling around, then buy this one. It cost Rs.1490 when I bought it a year ago.

Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement, or commission of any sort involved in this post.

6 Comments

  1. Rangarathnam Gopu Reply

    An ENT specialist gave a lecture, where he said earphone and headphones are one major cause of ear damage, which will manifest itself when person reaches his sixties or seventies. I dont know how accurate it is, or how sifgnificant a role they play. I rarely use either. Also, after the lecture, I almost always use my cellphone on speaker mode. And try to not talk longer than twenty minutes. Unfortunately, the length of the chat is not always in my control.
    For most professionals, I dont think earphones or headphones are avoidable.

    • Yes, there may be truth to this claim of long-term damage to our ears. I don’t listen to songs or loud music with my earphones. I try to minimize it the usage, but hearing to a podcast and doing phone calls during walking is convenient and makes me walk longer :-)

  2. Saravanan Sundaramoorthy Reply

    Well written and like the clear narration (including the disclosure )

  3. Pavanaja U B Reply

    Quite useful post. How come you did not try Sennheiser, Skullcandy, Samsung, Bose?

    • I am NOT a music buff so the fidelity and bass are not priority for me. So, I gave a miss to Sennheiser, Samsung & Bose as they start at Rs.15,000+ ($250) and above the range I wanted to spend. For that price, I can buy the gold-standard Apple Airpods even though they are not advertised for Android. Regarding Skullcandy, I didn’t find anything that caught my fancy.

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